I don’t recommend allowing domestic dogs to get up on furniture in the house…unless they are invited up….and asked to get down.  These are necessary rule structures that dogs need regarding any location in the home that gives them height.

Height matters to dogs.  Small dogs know they are small and big dogs know they are big. Height gives any dog an advantage.  By jumping up on a sofa the dog has gained height and in the dog’s mind this gives them an advantage which they will defend. 

By not allowing dogs on furniture, you are preventing a host of possible problems.  The dog is never “in possession” of the location so the dog will not try to defend it (location guarding aggression).  Provide dogs with comfy beds on the floor that are their own.  They may rest there.

I also include human “laps” in this discussion because small dogs in the lap of their owner gives them height PLUS proximity to owner which makes them even more bold.  Laps are warm which dogs like and humans like dogs on their laps for many reasons.  This is a problematic mix.  

What is the solution?  Rule structure.  There are conditions that the dog has to meet before being allowed up and…..conditions that the dog as to meet while they are on the lap!  There should be no “guarding aggression” toward another person or dog approaching the lap!  If there is, the lap disappears.  Dog rests on the floor.

If a dog is sensitive to these types of environmental situations can we modify or change that behavior? The answer is “yes”.  But in most cases I do not recommend it.  There is too much risk involved and it is advanced training that needs to be maintained.  The dog should rest in a comfy bed on the floor.  This is good management.

If you just have to have the dog on the sofa or bed with you, then make sure that you are in possession of the location first, then invite the dog up.  If someone approaches, cue the dog to get down.  The new person sits down, you invite the dog back up.  If at any time the dog starts to grumble or growl, the dog must be asked to get down immediately.  It is all about who is in possession of the location